I now enter my season of remembering. (Birthday, Christmas , the bleak midwinter, day of final diagnosis, and February 27 – the end here, the beginning of heaven.) Thoughts of Olivia’s last Christmas have been on my mind. She spent her make -a- wish money on presents for the family. There were some really nice gifts. We got her a cat. She was delighted.

All things considered, it was a good day.

But I knew – this could be her last Christmas. ( It was.) The day seemed precarious, precious, breakable.

This year, an old Christmas carol is on repeat in my head. The Christmas season brings what we need most.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, says the song, let nothing you dismay.

Check out that comma! Be merry, people. The world seems to running at breakneck speed toward doubt, disbelief and disdain, but don’t be dismayed. Instead, rest in the happiness of the Savior being born. (Or, as Olivia sang, when she was about 4, taught by some cool island girls, Don’t worry, be happy.) Sit in the joy of the season, savor the merriment, laugh in celebration. The Savior is born! This is our season of Hope.

Remember Christ the Savior is born on Christmas day

To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.

That, right there, is our tidings of comfort and joy.

Written about 1760, but applicable right now, it is a retelling of the gospel story. Because Christmas is about the birth of Christ- and his death, burial and resurrection. It’s about redemption, the giving of a future and a hope.

I like to think of Olivia tucked in safely – in heaven, by the strongest, gentlest hands, by the greatest Comforter. Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.

And for me, over all the sorrow and ‘missingness’ (it should be a word), those same hands gently and surely let grace fall down daily to cover me. Comfort and joy.

In this Christmas season and on into the bleak mid winter, be comforted.  Rest ye merry; have hope. Rejoice, for the Savior is born!